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Jump around! Kids hop to it to raise money for hearts

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Jumping rope isn’t just fun — it’s good for you, too!

That’s what 200 third through fifth graders found out last week at PS 197’s annual jumpathon: a two-hour jump rope marathon to raise money for the American Heart Association.

“It’s amazing the stuff the kids can do,” said Marc Goldstone, a physical education teacher at the Midwood elementary school on E. 22nd Street, who organized this year’s version of the event that he says has been going on for nearly 20 years. “The kids kept it going.”

Dutch settlers brought the trend to America in the 17th century, according to legend, and while skipping rope may seem like child’s play, the exercise is still used by athletes of many sports to improve coordination and cardiovascular fitness.

“Jumping is a natural reflex that can be developed into a skill for advantages and will always be essential to man’s survival,” reads a mission statement at the Jump Rope Institute, a group dedicated to “jump rope education.”

Children at PS 197 raised more than $3,000 dollars for the American Heart Association this year — and learned a valuable lesson in both staying healthy and being charitable.

But the real incentive for the pint-sized philanthropists at the jumpathon might be much simpler.

“They get to miss class in the morning,” said Goldstone. “It’s kind of a treat.”

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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